Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is set to join Australia’s national setup ahead of the 2015 World Cup, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has confirmed.
Cheika – who will coach both the Wallabies and the Waratahs this year – has sought to bring the former international fly-half into the national coaching fold since taking over from Ewen McKenzie last November.
Larkham, who played 102 Test for Australia, turned down a request to be on the end-of-year tour but Cheika says he will be part of the group that prepares for the global showpiece in England as the Wallabies attack coach.
Larkham will, however, continue his role as head coach of the Brumbies, to whom he is contracted until the end of 2017.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been speaking with Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey, both of whom are involved with their Super Rugby teams,” Cheika told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“There’s a good meeting of minds on that front, Stephen’s very passionate about the Australian team, as is Nathan – they’ve both played in it for many years and want to see it do well.”
Grey was part of the November tour and has now returned to the Waratahs for the duration of the Super Rugby season.
“I’m passionate about rugby in general, I’m a proud Australian and I love the Wallabies,” added Larkham.
“I want to see them do well, I’d love to help out if they would like me. But at the same time I’ve got a massive responsibility and requirement to be here [at the Brumbies] and see it through. That’s certainly my number one priority.”
The position of forwards coach has yet to be finalised, with incumbent coach Andrew Blades’ role under review.
The World cup-winning former prop served under both Robbie Deans and McKenzie.
“Andrew is in situ at the moment so I’ll be talking to him about his role in the next couple of weeks and what he’s going to bring over the next block, and decide if that’s how we’re going to go or if we’re going to look at someone else in that role as well,” explained Cheika.
“I’ve been very transparent and Andrew’s been excellent in his understanding of my approach with that as well.
“I haven’t really spoken to anyone in detail about that, there’s been a bit of canvassing but I need to speak with Andrew first about what his plans will be going forward, and then I’ll make some moves.”